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Zhuhai: The Newest Chinese Event On The ATP Tour

  • Posted: Sep 28, 2020

Zhuhai: The Newest Chinese Event On The ATP Tour

Learn more about the Zhuhai Championships, an ATP 250 event

The Zhuhai Championships made its ATP Tour debut last year, with four Top 15 players competing in the singles main draw.

The second edition of the event would have been held this week if not for the COVID-19 pandemic.

ATPTour.com looks at five things to know about the event.

Zhuhai Fans Show Their Support
At the inaugural edition of the event last year, the stars of the ATP Tour witnessed the unique support of Zhuhai fans. Not only did supporters cheer for their favourite players on the court, but they also took the time to bring gifts to practice sessions.

One player who collected multiple gifts from his fans was eventual champion Alex de Minaur. Alongside a couple of tea sets, the Sydney native also received a dancing animal-shaped hat. De Minaur took to social media to share his love of the hat, using it to dance along to viral song ‘Baby Shark’ in his hotel room.

 

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Happy with my first round win today, but even happier with this special gift from a fan!! 😂🐬🤦‍♂‍

A post shared by Alex De Minaur 🇦🇺 (@alexdeminaur) on

“I actually really like playing here. I think the fans here in China are like nowhere else. They’re really loud. I don’t think anywhere else I get given gifts by the fans,” said De Minaur. “So I really enjoy playing here and it’s always a special feeling once you come out here and you’re able to perform and play at a good level and get the win in front of these fans.”

Murray Takes Big Step
After undergoing a career-saving second right hip surgery in January 2019, Andy Murray entered the Zhuhai Championships seeking the first tour-level singles victory of his comeback. For the second straight ATP Tour event, the 2016 year-end World No. 1 met Tennys Sandgren in the first round.

Murray was pushed to three sets by the American, who had beaten him in Winston-Salem five weeks earlier, before raising his level to earn a memorable 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-1 victory.

“I think that in some ways that it’s one of the best wins that I’ve had,” said Murray. “Not in terms of just getting through that today, but everything that’s gone into getting back to this point.”

Murray’s hopes of progressing further in the draw were ended in the next round by De Minaur, who rallied from a set down to overcome the three-time Grand Slam champion after two hours and 42 minutes.

<a href=Andy Murray ” />

De Minaur Completes 2019 Hat-trick
De Minaur captured his third ATP Tour title of 2019 in Zhuhai, navigating a stacked draw at the ATP 250. The Aussie beat countryman John Millman, Murray, Borna Coric and Roberto Bautista Agut to book a final meeting with Adrian Mannarino.

In a match that featured just one break of serve, which occurred on championship point, De Minaur battled past the Frenchman 7-6(4), 6-4 to add to earlier 2019 titles in Sydney and Atlanta. Outside of the Top 6 players in the 2019 year-end FedEx ATP Rankings, De Minaur was the only other player to win three ATP Tour singles trophies last year.

<a href=Alex de Minaur improves to 3-2 in ATP Tour finals on Sunday in Zhuhai.” />

Gille/Vliegen Earn Third Trophy Of 2019
Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen joined De Minaur by completing a 2019 hat-trick of their own, dropping only one set en route to their third ATP Tour doubles trophy of the year. The fourth seeds earned their first tour-level crown on hard courts by clinching two tie-break sets against Marcelo Demoliner and Matwe Middelkoop in the championship match.

The Belgian pair, which was appearing in its eighth final of the year at all levels, improved to 3-1 in ATP Tour championship matches with their victory in Zhuhai. During a three-week stretch on clay earlier in the year, Gille and Vliegen clinched titles in Båstad and Gstaad, before a runner-up finish in Kitzbühel.

Zhuhai Doubles final

Tsitsipas, Coric Enter Virtual Reality
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Coric were drawn on opposite sides of the draw, but that did not stop the pair meeting off the court during their visit to Zhuhai. The seeded players took time out of their schedules to visit one of the city’s newest attractions: Lionsgate Entertainment World.

Tsitsipas and Coric enjoyed their time at the virtual reality theme park, taking part in a number of activities including virtual motorbike riding. The pair were also treated to a show by a local entertainer, who swallowed a sword and a metal ball.

“This was definitely one of the most cool experiences I’ve ever done. All of these things, the ball and the sword, I never thought I’m going to see something like that,” said Coric. “I can say that it was pretty awesome and I enjoyed my time there.”

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Chengdu: Where Khachanov Made His Breakthrough

  • Posted: Sep 28, 2020

Chengdu: Where Khachanov Made His Breakthrough

Learn more about the Chengdu Open, an ATP 250 event

First held in 2016, the Chengdu Open is one of four Chinese events during the three-week Asian Swing.

The ATP 250 would have been held this week if not for the COVID-19 pandemic.

ATPTour.com looks at five things to know about the event.

An Action-Packed ATP Tour Stop
Alongside its modern tennis facilities, which include 20 hard courts and 12 indoor courts, Chengdu also provides players with a wide range of off-court activities. At last year’s event, 2016 semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov made the most of his spare time by revisiting the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and taking a cruise down the Jinjiang River.

“I think the babies were pretty fascinating to see,” said Dimitrov in 2016. “They were acting a bit like humans, yawning, stretching and hiding their eyes. I always wanted to see a panda. I took quite a few pictures and I would love to show friends and family.”

Khachanov’s Maiden Moment
The inaugural Chengdu Open in 2016 was headlined by Dominic Thiem, Nick Kyrgios and Dimitrov, but it was a Next Gen ATP Finals contender who lifted the ATP 250 trophy. Ranked No. 101 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, Karen Khachanov defeated four Top 40 players en route to his maiden ATP Tour crown.

The 20-year-old beat Feliciano Lopez and Viktor Troicki in back-to-back matches to book a final clash against Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Khachanov recovered from a set down against the Spaniard and clinched the trophy with a 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 6-3 victory after two hours and 39 minutes.

Tomic’s Stunning Title Run
From qualifying, Bernard Tomic won seven matches at the 2018 Chengdu Open to clinch his first ATP Tour title in more than three years. The Australian survived three final-set tie-breaks en route to the title. In two of those matches, Tomic came within a point of defeat.

In the championship match, Tomic met in-form Italian Fabio Fognini. The top seed was aiming to become the first Italian man to win four tour-level singles titles in the same year and held four match points in a final-set tie-break against Tomic, but the 6’5” right-hander battled back to claim the trophy 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(7).

“I should have lost five times,” said Tomic. “In the second round in qualifying to Gerasimov, I was down 0/40 at 4-4 in the third set and I somehow got through that match; against Klahn in the first round I was down 7-6, 3-1 and in the second round I was down a match point as well against Harris. It’s been a rollercoaster.”

Last In, First Team Trophy Win
Nikola Cacic and Dusan Lajovic were not sure if they would make it into the 2019 Chengdu Open doubles draw, but the pair ended their stay at the ATP 250 by lifting their first tour-level doubles title as a team.

”We were the last team to get in, so Nikola flew here at the last moment,” said Lajovic. “He came here on Sunday and it was only our third time this year playing an ATP Tour event together and we didn’t expect much, but we knew we could play good tennis.”

Cacic’s decision to take a late flight proved to be an inspired move, as the Serbian duo claimed three victories to advance to their first ATP Tour final together. In the championship match, Cacic and Lajovic saved two set points in the first set before completing a 7-6(9), 3-6, 10-3 win against Jonathan Erlich and Fabrice Martin.

“This week was the best week so far in my career,” said Cacic. “I am really happy that I won my first ATP Tour title with Dusan. [These are] special moments for me.”

<a href=Dusan Lajovic and Nikola Cacic lift their first tour-level trophy as a team.” />

Carreno Busta Returns To Winners’ Circle
More than two years after earning his third ATP Tour title at the 2017 Millennium Estoril Open, Pablo Carreno Busta added a fourth trophy to his collection in Chengdu last year. The Spaniard overcame Benoit Paire in three sets and also defeated Cristian Garin and Denis Shapovalov in straight sets to reach his seventh tour-level final.

In the championship match, Carreno Busta came from a set down and withstood 31 aces against Alexander Bublik to claim a 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(3) victory. The former World No. 10 became the fourth different winner of the tournament in as many years, following in the footsteps of Khachanov, Denis Istomin and Tomic. Across the singles and doubles events, no player has won multiple trophies at the tournament.

<a href=Pablo Carreno Busta owns three ATP Tour titles.” />

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Preview: Djokovic Opens Bid For Second Roland Garros Trophy

  • Posted: Sep 28, 2020

Preview: Djokovic Opens Bid For Second Roland Garros Trophy

Hamburg finalists Rublev, Tsitsipas also in action

Novak Djokovic will begin his hunt for a second Roland Garros crown on Day 3 in Paris, when he faces Mikael Ymer of Sweden in the first round on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

The World No. 1 arrives in the French capital in red-hot form, having lifted his fifth Internazionali BNL d’Italia trophy earlier this month. Djokovic’s victory in Rome took his record this year to 31-1, with four trophies from five events.

Djokovic is chasing history at Stade Roland Garros, four years after he became only the third player to hold all four Grand Slam singles trophies at the same time following a four-set win against Andy Murray in the 2016 championship match.

The Serbian has his sights set on chasing down rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the Grand Slam titles leaderboard. Djokovic currently owns 17 trophies at the level, two behind Nadal and three behind record-holder Federer.

If Djokovic were to win his second trophy on the terre battue, he would become the first player in the Open Era to claim all four Grand Slam singles crowns on multiple occasions. Last month, Djokovic achieved the equivalent feat at ATP Masters 1000 level. The 33-year-old completed his second Career Golden Masters by capturing his second Western & Southern Open crown.

If Djokovic is to move closer to those records, he must first overcome Ymer. The 22-year-old, who competed at last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, is making his second straight appearance in the main draw at Roland Garros. At last year’s event, his Grand Slam main draw debut, the World No. 80 reached the second round.

Tsitsipas

Fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas returns to action on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, just two days after a runner-up finish to Andrey Rublev at the Hamburg European Open. The reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion faces Jaume Munar, for the second time in their ATP Head2Head series, in his opening match of the tournament.

Tsitsipas and Munar’s only previous clash came at the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. The Greek defeated Munar in four sets at the round-robin stage, earning one of five victories en route to the trophy.

Tsitsipas will be aiming to add to his impressive 2020 record this fortnight. The World No. 6, who lost an epic five-hour, nine-minute battle against Stan Wawrinka at this event last year, is in third place on the 2020 ATP Tour match wins leaderboard with 22 wins from 31 matches. Only Djokovic (31) and Rublev (25) own more victories this year.

Fresh from his third ATP Tour title run this year, Hamburg champion Rublev will open his Roland Garros campaign on Court Simonne-Mathieu. The 13th seed will aim to secure his first Roland Garros victory against Sam Querrey. Rublev is making only his second main draw appearance at the clay-court Grand Slam championship, following a five-set loss to Diego Schwartzman in the 2017 first-round.

Ninth seed Denis Shapovalov will look to build on his semi-final run in Rome when he takes on home favourite Gilles Simon in the final match on Court Phillipe-Chatrier. The #NextGenATP Canadian has won nine of 12 matches since the ATP Tour resumption, which also includes a run to his first Grand Slam quarter-final at the US Open.

Roberto Bautista Agut meets Richard Gasquet for the ninth time in their ATP Head2Head series on Tuesday. New father Bautista Agut has won six of his previous eight contests against Gasquet, but this will be their pair’s first clay encounter.

ORDER OF PLAY – TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2020
COURT PHILIPPE-CHATRIER start 11:00 am
WTA Match
WTA Match
[1] Novak Djokovic v Mikael Ymer
[9] Denis Shapovalov v Gilles Simon

 

COURT SUZANNE-LENGLEN start 11:00 am
Vasek Pospisil v [7] Matteo Berrettini
WTA Match
Jaume Munar v [5] Stefanos Tsitsipas
WTA Match

 

COURT SIMONNE-MATHIEU start 11:00 am
WTA Match
Sam Querrey v [13] Andrey Rublev
[10] Roberto Bautista Agut v Richard Gasquet
WTA Match

Click here to view the full Roland Garros Day 3 schedule.

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Kukushkin Upsets Fognini At Roland Garros

  • Posted: Sep 28, 2020

Kukushkin Upsets Fognini At Roland Garros

Kazakhstani holds nerve

Mikhail Kukushkin recorded one of the biggest wins of his career on Monday to reach the Roland Garros second round for the first time since 2017.

The Kazakhstani held his nerve to beat No. 14 seed Fabio Fognini 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-0 in two hours and 52 minutes. Fognini has now lost in the first round at the clay-court major on four occasions (also 2007, 2009 and 2016).

Kukushkin recovered from 3-5 down in the third set by winning 24 of 32 points, then ran through the 22-minute fourth set for the loss of six points. Both players hit 42 winners, but Kukushkin was stronger on serve and converted seven of his 12 break point opportunities.

The 32-year-old Kukushkin will now challenge Pedro Martinez, who recorded just his second Grand Slam championship victory with a 7-5, 6-4, 6-0 win over fellow qualifier Aleksandar Vukic in two hours and 12 minutes. Martinez saved two set points on serve at 4-5, 15/40 in the first set.

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Rublev Back At Career-High, Mover Of Week

  • Posted: Sep 28, 2020

Rublev Back At Career-High, Mover Of Week

ATPTour.com looks at the top Movers of the Week in the FedEx ATP Rankings, as of Monday, 28 September 2020

No. 12 Andrey Rublev, +2 (joint Career High)
The Russian, who captured a third ATP Tour trophy of 2020 by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Hamburg European Open final, returns to his career-high of No. 12 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. After winning one of his first three ATP Tour finals, Rublev has claimed victory in his past four championship matches. The 22-year-old won his home tournament, the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow last year, before lifting back-to-back trophies at the start of 2020 at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha and at the Adelaide International. Read Final Report & Watch Hamburg Final Highlights 

No. 25 Casper Ruud, +5 (Career High)
The Norwegian, who started the season at No. 54 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, is now up to a career-high No. 25 after reaching the Hamburg semi-finals (l. to Tsitsipas). The 21-year-old is 9-4 since the ATP Tour resumption, including his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome (l. to Djokovic).

View Latest FedEx ATP Rankings
Read FedEx ATP Rankings COVID-19 Adjustments FAQ

Other Notable Top 100 Movers
No. 38 Ugo Humbert, +3 (Career High)
No. 49 Alexander Bublik, +7
No. 60 Pablo Cuevas, +3
No. 61 Dominik Koepfer, +5 (Career High)
No. 68 Jiri Vesely, +7
No. 84 Thiago Monteiro, +5
No. 90 Lloyd Harris, +6
No. 97 Yannick Hanfmann, +6

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